I would be lying if I say that I don’t welcome this development. We’re still a nation of laws after all. Freedom of speech is not absolute, it’s subject to limitations – and this is what this Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code is all about.
I doubt if this guy will serve prison time. He’ll probably get a lesser sentence in the succeeding courts. Have him do community service. Let him clean the Cathedral for the next 6-12 months. He makes his living in that area anyway. That he got convicted is enough for me. But if prison time push through, I hope he survives it. As for the Church forgiving him, I heard they already did – but they’re leaving it up to the courts – too bad for the guy, the forgiveness was spiritual, not legal. I don’t think Priests can dissolve judicial decisions as they do with confessed sins.
I’m not one that gets easily offended. I listen to a lot of stand up acts from the US and they could get really brutal with their act on God and religion but it’s all fun and games. As long as they don’t do it inside my church, it’s all good – I’ll remain a fan. Celdran did his skit in Manila Cathedral! If he had done the same inside a Mosque just imagine what would have happened to him. While I don’t expect people like him to be that courageous, the law that landed him a conviction was designed to protect all faiths from such disrespectful acts that often incite hatred and disturbances. He might not know it but the law was looking after him also.
Cito Beltran in his Philippine Star column explains, “Whether we agree or disagree with the outcome, what cannot be denied is there is such a law against offending religious feelings. It is a law intended to protect as well as to keep people in check from making inflammatory speeches or attacks against religious sentiments. This is not some church sponsored law intended to cast fear or give punishment to critics and Protestants, but is designed to protect all religions and faith.”
Hey, amen to that.